Santa Clara Valley Horseless Carriage Club

Old California Tour
May 2010

(see photos at end of article)

The 37th Annual Old California tour was centered in Soledad, California at the Motel 8 and was held on May 26th thru May 29, 2010. The tour was sponsored by the Central California Regional Group, HCCA in conjunction with the Modesto and Santa Cruz Regional Groups. Also joining this year were the Bay Area and Santa Clara Valley Regional Groups. The tour was advertised as a barebones tour with requests for but no requirement for period clothing. Bring your own name tag. This policy seems to work in keeping the prices somewhat in check. We have seen the same policy work well with other tours. Unfortunately this year’s tour started with a bang, so to speak. John and Carolee Morrison’s Model T was rear ended by a Semi Truck as they entered the freeway to start the Shake down tour on May 26, 2010. All reports up to now indicate they were not seriously injured and are mending quite well. Our wishes and wishes from everyone on the tour go out for a speedy recovery. The pictures of their car are included with this report, thanks to Eric Anninger.

The Shake down tour was about 20 miles through the foothills and ended at the Michael Griva Ranch. Michael and Vickie opened up their beautiful gardens for our enjoyment and their wine for our tasting. Their wines were wonderful, especially the ones right out of the barrel which was their own blend of several red grapes. A wonderful catered BBQ was provided after the wine tasting. Thursday we motored to Carmel by the Sea with hope in our hearts and umbrellas in hand. The trip was about 60 miles each way and the rain held off until we approached Carmel. A parking lot was reserved for us near Mission and 8th and was convenient for downtown shopping and dining. The rain became quite hard at times as we walked through the village streets. We were able to avoid the hardest rains by ducking into the shops or restaurants. The trip back was mostly in the rain with some slight let up at times. We had one mishap on this tour when a Model T skidded on the wet pavement and slid into a bank. We believe there was fender damage and a broken axle. Passenger and driver are well. Dinner was on our own after the ?ne cocktail hour. The editors
chose a Mexican restaurant on the same block as the hotel.

Friday the group headed to San Juan Bautista, a round trip of approximately 87 miles. Thankfully there was no rain but still a bit cool at the start. We traveled on the Old Stage road most of the trip with memories of yesteryear as we drove. We originally planned to travel a portion of the de Anza trail into San Juan but the rain ended that dream with a washout. Lunch was on our own in the village and several chose to eat German style while others selected Mexican. The shops were closed when we arrived at 10:15 AM but opened at 11:00 for some after lunch We drove back to the motel for more cocktails and a catered dinner. The wind had picked up signi?cantly for our out door meal. The dinner consisted of traditional polenta with stew accompanied by salad and bread. Most members picked up their dinners and headed for the safety of their room. Saturday we were greeted by warmer weather for our trip to Marina on the Beach. We stopped at Henningsen’s restoration shop for coffee and more nourishment as well as a tour of the facilities and some great cars. Of course we had to start up several of the stationary engines. They are called stationary because they are too big and heavy to move. They are also quite noisy but fun to watch. We then continued on to Marina State Beach, which was only 9 miles further. Lunch of quesadillas and spring rolls with rice and beef on skewers was served at the Kula Ranch Steak House. We returned to the motel for storing cars and getting ready for the banquet. We drove to the Braga Barn for cocktails and dinner and viewing the collection of Norman and Diane Braga. A heart felt thank you to Diane Braga for courageously opening the barn for our use after losing her husband less than two months ago. Door prizes and awards were presented with some small amount of speechifying to end the festivities. We want to especially thank Ken Ryan for chairing this tour with the able assistance of Tony Wollesen. And we thank everyone else in the regional groups for a great tour. The routes were mostly gentle with just enough challenges to test our cars and the food was wonderful and abundant, if anyone left hungry, don’t blame the caterers.

Judy and Gene Hironimus


Photos provided by Jim Boyden